The work: Karen Wells, A sense of things. Acrylic and oil on poly-cotton, 51 x 51cm. Courtesy: the artist. Photo: Kerry Leonard
Karen Wells’ unique relationship to space is apparent in her work A sense of things. A square canvas is deliberately chosen for an equanimous composition. The challenging balance in the work lies within the colour choice and block forms. The white along the bottom of the canvas is clean and untouched, neutralising the vibrancy of the blue to the right. For Karen, the drying time between layers of oil paint is important for reflection, to ensure the process is led intuitively when the work is revisited. “This work presents as a series of spaces, blues and depths,” says Karen, “rather like the laying down of paint cards but with a pattern of relationships and meanings.” Materials are carefully considered, with Karen opting for poly-cotton that provides a smooth and durable surface for her painting which requires layering and wiping back. Layered surfaces, particularly of the darker navy blue and the wiped effect of the lighter blue at the top of the canvas remind the viewer of the nuance and flow of life.